So far the town of Hilton Head has picked up 1.8 Million cubic yards of debris.
That would fill Madison Square Garden 4 times.
But the pickup is far from over. Town officials expect there to be 2.5 Million cubic yards of debris by the time its finished.
Some of the focus is now on the small roads and homes that are off the beaten path.
Most folks only see the larger roads and highways and the cleanup that’s gone on for months on those.
Pile after pile of debris being pulled from the side of roads across Hilton Head Island.
What you haven’t seen is the other roads, covered in tree limbs, many of them dirt, with seemingly no one to pick them up.
“Many people do not have insurance and do not have the financial means to remove trees and really get their feet on the ground,” explains Craig Ostergard, a volunteer from Hilton Head Presbyterian Church. “So we have tried to be that hand up if you will.”
Volunteers from Hilton Head Presbyterian church are doing their part. 245 assignments and counting. All for folks who couldn’t pick up anything themselves and would have been left with nothing but tree parts and trash.
“Frankly (they) don;t have the ability,” says Ostergard.”They don’t have chainsaws, they don’t have bobcats, tractors. they physically just cannot do it.”
FEMA isn’t coming to help. The Federal agency isn’t paying for the trucks to go down those roads.
Too small they say.
“Many of those roads wouldn’t be passable by FEMA truck.” says Ostergard.
Not enough debris they say.
“Once you get off the public roads and get on the really private dirt roads, there is a lot of debris,” explains the Volunteer.
But the town is stepping up. It will cost about $50,000 to pick up from 76 roads FEMA wouldn’t.
A small price to pay for a clean yard and home and peace of mind.
“There is a tremendous fear of fire”explains Ostergard. “and gosh if some fires started in some of those areas, it would be catastrophic.”
News 3 spoke to Charles Cousins from the town of Hilton Head.
He says FEMA hopefully will pay for 75% of all the other debris pickup, which could cost the Town $50 million when its all finished.
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley had promised $30 million to all local governments in the state for cleanup. Which would have helped. But she’s now in Washington.
That may mean a tax increase for Hilton Head and various other local municipalities who have to foot the rest of the bill for cleanup.
Locally, Cousins says the first pass of all properties will be finished by the end of next week.
The last pass however – probably won’t be until late spring. The Town promises people will know before the trucks stop running.